Kashmir experimental lab for Centre; after Article 370 abrogation, situation has only worsened: Mehbooba Mufti

The PDP leader pointed out that she came to protest and speak in Delhi because in Kashmir, “we cannot open our mouths”

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti

Ashlin Mathew

Slamming the Modi government, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asserted that with the current BJP government in power, Mahatma Gandhi’s India has turned into Godse’s India where all minorities, Dalits and farmers are targeted.

“The present BJP government has been running the country, especially after the 2019 election, with a colonial mindset. Jammu Kashmir has become a laboratory for their rule. Whatever they want to do in the rest of the country, it is first tested in our laboratory,” underscored Mufti. She was speaking at a press conference organised at the Indian Women’s Press Corps at central Delhi on Tuesday.

She pointed out that she came to protest and speak in Delhi because in Kashmir, “we cannot open our mouths”. Mufti stated that if people protest or open their mouths, they are detained and later taken to the police station. They are then made to give a written note that they would not protest again. Mufti had staged a protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Monday, with posters that stated, “Kashmir is in pain”.

Mufti questioned the need for the immediate delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir when it was happening in the rest of the country only in 2026. “BJP has claimed that they have integrated Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country, then why this difference? The delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir is part of their divisive agenda. They want to delimit certain areas in order to suit them,” added Mufti.

The former Chief Minister said she would not fight any election in Jammu and Kashmir until the abrogation of Article 370 is revoked from the state. “My party will participate in the elections as we will not cede political space to BJP,” underscored Mufti. She reiterated that she would not give up the fight.

She agreed that the youth of her state were disillusioned with most mainstream parties including hers as they felt that the political parties were simply agents of the union government. The residents of the state believe that they have been left in the cold with the abrogation of the Article 370. “More than 700 farmers were martyred during the farmer protests, but thousands have died in our state. Their deaths will not go in vain,” maintained Mufti.

While stressing that Jammu and Kashmir was the only Muslim majority state, Mufti said it is evident why the BJP-led union government broke the state into pieces.

“The government has created a perception that everything is okay after the abrogation of Article 370, but nothing is right there. The situation has worsened after the abrogation. Our situation was much better than the model states of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Our health and education indices were better than most states,” underscored Mufti, who reiterated that there was no point in regretting the alliance with BJP as she was taking forward what her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had agreed to. “There is no point looking at the past,” she added. There had been an alliance between the People’s Democratic Party and the BJP, but there was a rift in the alliance in February 2018 after the rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua district. Soon after, the alliance broke and BJP blamed the ‘deteriorating security situation’ in the state.

Mufti praised the peace efforts between India and Pakistan by former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “There is a path that has been laid down by Vajpayee, who gave hope to the people of the state. It was during Vajpayee’s time that Kargil happened, and even after that former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was invited for the Agra Summit. Dialogue is the way forward,” maintained Mufti, who was the first woman to become the Chief Minister of the state.

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